Photo Credit: Martin aka Maha via Flickr (CC-By-SA 2.0)
Photo Credit: Martin aka Maha via Flickr (CC-By-SA 2.0)

(Des Moines, IA) The Iowa Senate voted late Wednesday afternoon to pass SF 2281 (the successor to SSB 3143)a bill that would ban abortions of pre-born babies when a heartbeat is detected. The vote was along party lines with all 29 Senate Republicans and State Senator David Johnson (I-Oychedan) voting in favor of the bill and all 20 Democrats voting against.

The bill survived the first funnel week when it was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by an 8 to 5 party-line vote on February 12.

The legislation states that except in the case of a medical emergency an abortion is not permitted if a heartbeat is detected through the use of an abdominal ultrasound. The legislation defines a medical emergency as the life of the mother being endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, physical injury, or a physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy.

Physicians who knowingly and intentionally perform an abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected and medical emergency does not exist are guilty of a class D felony that is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of $750 to $7,500, (Iowa Code § 902.9).

Physicians charged or indicted for violating this proposed law may request a hearing before the Iowa Board of Medicine to determine whether a medical emergency did in fact exist. The findings of the board on the issue of the medical emergency would then be admissible during their trial.

State Senator Janet Petersen (D-Des Moines) who led off Democrat floor remarks in opposition to the bill said that the bill represented another GOP attack on women.

“I believe every Iowa woman in our state should have the freedom to care for her body without government intervening. I believe every Iowa woman should have the freedom to decide if and when she wants to become a parent,” Petersen said opening her remarks.

“Unfortunately, that is becoming nearly impossible with Republicans in control of the Iowa Senate.”

Petersen referenced Iowa Senate Republicans’ recent loss of lawsuit by a former staffer who was fired after making a sexual harassment complaint and subsequent action afterward. She also highlighted Senate Republicans defunding abortion providers of family planning dollars during the 2017 Iowa Legislative session.

Watch her full-remarks below:

Petersen was followed by remarks from State Senators Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City) and Nate Boulton (D-Des Moines) who also opposed the bill.

State Senator Amy Sinclar (R-Allerton), who was the floor manager for the bill, provided a rebuttal before the Senate voted.

“This is not a war on women and in fact, roughly 50 percent of the people we are electing to protect here are indeed women. So, in fact, a failure to pass this bill would be the true war on women in its most pure sense,” Sinclair said during her floor speech supporting the bill.

“This bill is the logical starting point of all civil governance. Each of us in this room who will be casting a vote on this bill took an oath to defend the Constitution of the State of Iowa and the Constitution of the United States of America. Each of these documents were created to govern a society where individual human person liberty is held in the highest regard. Where each person’s rights are carefully and fully defended, and the logically understood right to life acts as a prerequisite for every other law we enact,” she added.

Watch her full remarks below:

“We need to decide what a life is and we have the duty to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Sinclair told Caffeinated Thoughts.

She said this bill is in line with medicine, “When a heartbeat exists a life exists.”

4 comments
  1. Bless Amy Sinclair and all the other brave reps. that took a stand for life and respect for the most innocent among us. How any woman can deny that a heartbeat does not indicate a life. Maybe not a fully formed baby but one in the making. Drs. are sworn to uphold life and abortion is in direct conflict with that oath.

  2. This conflicts with patient autonomy and inevitably will fail when it is challenged in court. The doctors performing an abortion are there to treat the woman seeking one, not searching for possible signs of a heart beat. Even if it did stick, it would do 2 things:
    1.) make rich women drive out of state/pay top dollar to get their abortions
    2.) force indigent women seeking abortions to make due with non-medical (unsafe) options

    Do people think abortions never occurred back when they were “illegal”? Before Roe v. Wade? They still occurred back then as well. If we want to actually cut down on abortions, we need better healthcare access to indigent women, better support of pregnant women and better social programs for mothers in general; especially the ones in dire social situations.

    1. Abortions did happen, but they were far less frequent. By the way, abortion is still legal if this bill should pass.

      I also find it interesting that you think nothing of the right to life of the unborn child. That baby is not part of the mother. It is a unique life. Abortion is not health care, and no legitimate physician should even perform them (and most don’t, we already have very few doctors willing to perform them in Iowa).

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